Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Williams: Racial trade-offs

Speaking of Libertarianism, here's a piece of interest by economist Walter E. Williams - you may hear from him from time to time on the Rush Limbaugh program where he has served as a guest host. Anyway, here's a topic I like to visit from time to time which just so happens to be public education. Williams writes:
Trade-offs apply to our economic lives, as well as our political lives. That means getting more of one thing requires giving up something else. Let’s look at some examples.

Black congressmen and black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, always side with teachers unions in their opposition to educational vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other measures that would allow black parents to take their children out of failing public schools. Most black politicians and many black professionals take the position of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is on record as saying, “We shouldn’t abandon the public schools.”

Taking such a political stance is understandable because black congressmen and other black elected officials are part of a coalition. As such, they are expected to vote for things that other coalition members want in order that those coalition members vote for things that black politicians want. There’s no question that these black public officials are getting something in return for their support of teachers unions and others who benefit from the educational status quo. The question not addressed by black people is whether what black politicians are getting for their support of a failed educational system is worth the sacrifice of whole generations of black youngsters, educationally handicapping them and making many virtually useless in the high-tech world of the 21st century.

Though many black politicians mouth that we should fix, not abandon, public schools, they themselves have abandoned public schools. They see their children as too precious to be sacrificed in the name of public education. While living in Chicago, Barack Obama sent his daughters to the prestigious University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When he moved to Washington, President Obama enrolled his daughters in the prestigious Sidwell Friends School. According to a report by The Heritage Foundation, “exactly 52 percent of Congressional Black Caucus members and 38 percent of Congressional Hispanic Caucus members sent at least one child to private school.” Overall, only 6 percent of black students attend private school. 
Over at my other blog, The Sixth Ward, I had recently posted an article about three Chicago families who elected to move out of the city into the suburbs. They did so with the idea that their children would thrive in suburban public schools. One takeaway from that piece showed how a school system full of mostly low-income children can prove to be a detriment.

Let me be careful though, every low-income child has the right and potential to rise above their current station in live. In fact we should be very hopeful of that and hopefully many of them can rise to the occassion. What I can recognize is that being low-income can be in more ways than one an impediment and unfortunately for many of our youth in that situation it's not entirely their fault either.

My only wish is to find a way to make the public schools work for the families who utilize the system. They have to work and insure that our young people are educated and that they are successful in their lives whatever they choose to do. Although I don't have kids yet as a product of public education myself I'm not sure I have great faith that they will do right by my future children.

BTW, the Williams article was posted to LewRockwell.com which was one of the sites I noted in a recent article about libertarianism. Found this via a link over at Newsalert!

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